Published on July 19th, 2014 | by Duke Of Havoc
Need To Consume LFCC 2014
So last weekend was London Film & Comic Con 2014! The turnout was absolutely mind boggling and the weather depending on whether you were cosplaying or not was absolutely horrible/glorious.
A week on and I think everything that could be said about the crowds, the heat and the tickets has been committed to page, podcast and video. I think Showmasters will have a lot to take away and revise for Winter London Film & Comic Con but we should try to remain as constructive as possible to help the team improve and make each year bigger and better (whilst remaining within the constraints of the location). So what could they do to ensure everyone has a good time and the event doesn’t become a fiasco?
In the day and age of e-tickets and apps, Showmasters need to catch up. Paper tickets and stamps are simply out of date. I overheard many a person say they hadn’t bought tickets yet got in because they would tell the staff on the door (who were incredible despite the demands put on them by the sheer number of attendees) that their stamp had sweated off in the heat. Now I have to admit, my stamp did fade in the heat. This system needs to change. Even wristbands would ensure that only those who have bought tickets would be able to gain entry and that leads me onto my second point.
There is a hell of a lot of paper and card wasted with the printing of tickets. By moving everything to an electronic system, it is far easier to mine sales data (and who doesn’t like playing with data?) and also means it removes those who gain entry by nefarious means.
The UK con scene is growing at an exponential rate. We saw records set in May at that other con and Showmasters have talked about how LFCC has increased by a huge rate this year, but I can’t help but feel this is mainly due to Stan Lee. As amazing as that is, the total capacity for EC2 and Brompton Hall is approximately 15,000. Showmasters only talked about percentages in their post-con debrief but I don’t think it would take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that the queues on the day for tickets exceeded that. I am unsure why UK cons decide to sell tickets on the day or even offer than option. Why not put the entire capacity, within it’s various groupings: VIP, Earlybird and Standard, up on the site and be done with it? This means we don’t have disappointed guests on the day, sweltering in the heat and clogging up areas for those who have tickets. It feels like a bit of a vanity move by organisers who want to show how in demand their convention is. If there are tickets left over, fair enough, but to deliberately create demand on the day seems a little mean. A lot of people queued on the basis of a “one in, one out” system on Saturday with little communication from the volunteers. I don’t blame the volunteers as I don’t think they were given the correct information by organisers. An example of that was when I saw that the Showmasters official twitter feed had put up a tweet about tickets still being available for the Sunday and when we mentioned this to a member of the Showmasters team, she wasn’t happy. There was clearly not one voice coming from Showmasters and it was creating unrest with some attendees.
Inside The Venue
There has been much talk about the heat inside EC2. Those arguing that the air-conditioning was or wasn’t on. I spent little time in EC2 on the Saturday as I frankly couldn’t get back in, despite being stamped. My partner who was towards the back for most of day says she could see that the air-conditioning was on. It was moving bits of paper. The fact is, with that many people walking around and with the temperature outside, it was going to be hot, regardless.
It definitely felt like more stalls and aisles were in place this year too. It felt much more compact, and this might have been due to the numbers but I’m not sure. Having the stall where people could buy photo-shoot tickets right at the front of the hall seemed rather daft. Why not have that off to the side of the hall? That way it is out of the way so those who weren’t interested in shoots could have more space and freedom to move. It might be my OCD talking but I also struggle to see why cons don’t instigate one way traffic systems. The majority of us are British, we bloody love following people in lines. By allowing everyone to move in one direction, they can help free up the aisles a bit for those who are looking to buy some sweet geek swag and those who want to get to the back quickly to attend a panel or photoshoot.
I think that is enough of me harping on about the event. All in all, it is amazing to see a UK con draw in some huge names (but clearly we have a long way to go to catch up with San Diego Comic Con). I really hope Showmasters sits down and takes all the constructive criticism on board. Sadly some people have been incredibly hyperbolic but that is the nature of the internet I guess.
I hope you enjoy the video and feel free to leave us your comments about your experience at LFCC. If you spot yourself in cosplay and you have a Facebook page or Twitter feed, let us know and we will edit this to put a link in.
Bring on the next con!